TSEA Legislative Update – March 20, 2015

TSEA March 23, 2015 0
TSEA Legislative Update – March 20, 2015

Legislative activity began again this week with the Pension and Insurance Council considering the State Employee Insurance bill SB607/HB648. The Council added five amendments and then moved the bill forward with a positive recommendation.

On Tuesday, the Administration and TSEA were allowed to make presentations on the Haslam Administration’s proposed changes to the insurance benefits for state employees and local governments. The presentations can be viewed online by clicking HERE.

Wednesday’s activity included the House State Government Subcommittee again delaying consideration of both the Longevity (SB606/HB647) and Insurance (SB607/HB648) bills. Both bills are on the calendar for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

Rep. David Hawk on Wednesday presented two bills, SB813/HB664 and SB737/HB667, in the House State Government Subcommittee concerning Greene Valley Developmental Center. His desire is to require that GVDC retain the designation of a “willing provider” for the purposes of servicing the needs of the community as they have in the past. After lengthy discussions, both bills were placed on the calendar for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

Discussion and presentations were also heard in House State Government Subcommittee on SB12/HB242, which would enact Mandatory Retirement and retirement benefits for commissioned Park Rangers. A vote on that bill is also expected next week.

Listed below are bills affecting state employees which are scheduled to be heard next week. Where applicable, we indicate if action is needed on a bill.


Monday

Joint Council on Pensions & Insurance

SB607 / HB648 Membership of state insurance committee.
Sponsors: Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Courtney Rogers
Adds one representative and one senator as members of the state insurance committee, to be appointed by the respective speakers. Provides that those members shall serve two-year terms. Provides that the speakers shall ensure that one of the members is a republican, while the other is a democrat.

Note: This bill is part of TSEA’s legislative package. For more information about our legislative package, visit the TSEA website.

SB953 / HB886 Expands definition of “period of armed conflict.”
Sponsors: Sen. Mark Green /  Rep. Jay D. Reedy
As introduced, adds Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom to the definition of “period of armed conflict” for purposes of determining military service credit in the Tennessee consolidated retirement system.

House Floor Consent Calendar

SB950 / HB478 Sick leave for maternity and paternity.
Sponsors: Sen. Jeff Yarbro / Rep. Bill Beck
As introduced, eliminates the 30-day aggregate limit of sick leave that may be used for maternity and paternity leave if both parents are state employees.

Tuesday

Senate State & Local Government

SB813 / HB664 Probationary period for certain preferred service position transfers.
Sponsors: Sen. Joey Hensley / Rep. David B. Hawk
Exempts preferred service employees who transfer to another preferred service position from the one-year probationary period of employment if the employee previously completed a probationary period in a preferred service position. Broadly captioned.

SB1276 / HB1158 Certain state employee evaluations are confidential.
Sponsors: Sen. Ken Yager / Rep. Bob Ramsey
Makes confidential the job performance evaluations of employees of the state treasurer, employees of the comptroller of the treasury, employees of the secretary of state, and employees of public institutions of higher education. Clarifies that such job performance evaluations includes self-evaluations by employees and any communications concerning job performance evaluations.

House State Government

SB1267 / HB532 Providing state employee information to TSEA.
Sponsors: Sen. Ken Yager / Rep. Curry Todd
Requires the state to provide TSEA information on state employees’ work site location, home telephone number, and residential address every six months. Provides that the state may charge a reasonable fee for the information.

Note: This bill is part of TSEA’s legislative package. For more information about our legislative package, visit the TSEA website.

SB582 / HB1312 THP – payroll deductions for payment of membership dues.
Sponsors: Sen. Doug Overbey / Rep. Art Swann
Enables members of the Tennessee highway patrol to authorize payroll deductions for the payment of membership dues for organizations that meet certain criteria.

Senate Commerce & Labor

SB123 / HB603 Collective bargaining agreements – local governments and labor unions
Sponsors: Sen. Brian Kelsey / Rep. Jeremy Durham
Reaffirms that a local government shall not enter into any collective bargaining agreement with a labor union or employee association.

SB1157 /  HB588 Model policy for employers to prevent abusive conduct in workplace.
Sponsors: Sen. Mark S. Norris / Rep. Antonio Parkinson
As introduced, extends the date by which TACIR must create a model policy for employers to prevent abusive conduct in the workplace from March 1, 2015, to September 1, 2015.

Wednesday

House Criminal Justice

SB833 / HB838  Assault on correctional officers.
Sponsors: Sen. Ken Yager / Rep. John Mark Windle
As introduced, adds correctional officers to the group of public servants the assault of which results in an increased fine of up to $15,000.

Senate Transportation & Safety

SB582 / HB1312 THP – payroll deductions for payment of membership dues.
Sponsors: Sen. Doug Overbey / Rep. Art Swann
As introduced, enables members of the Tennessee highway patrol to authorize payroll deductions for the payment of membership dues for organizations that meet certain criteria.

House State Government Subcommittee

SB606 / HB647 Longevity payments for executive branch employees.
Sponsors: Sen. Mark S. Norris / Rep. Gerald McCormick
Deletes provisions providing longevity payments for executive branch employees. Gives employees a permanent one-time pay increase equal to half of the longevity payment the employee is due as of June 30, 2015. Requires remaining funds for employee longevity to be reallocated to the general fund for the sole purpose of funding a merit pay system. Part of Administration Package.

ACTION ALERT: If you are a constituent of one of the House State Government Subcommittee members, you received an email in the past two weeks, asking you to contact your appropriate legislator regarding this bill. We ask that if you were identified for this action that you continue to participate as instructed. If further action is needed, we will notify the appropriate members. Please be sure to thank the members of the Subcommittee who have voiced their concerns regarding this bill and its impact on state employees, and their support for TSEA’s opposition to it.

SB607 / HB648 Changes to state, local government & local education insurance plans.
Sponsors: Sen. Mark S. Norris / Rep. Gerald McCormick
HB648, if adopted, would impact state employees in several ways. A few of those include reducing the percentage paid by the state for an employee’s dependents beginning in calendar year 2017, eliminating health insurance coverage for part time employees hired after June 30, 2015, allowing the state to deny coverage to spouses of state employees who are eligible for similar group health insurance through the spouses’ employer, and eliminating health insurance coverage for retirees hired after June 30, 2015

*The amended bill removes some of the provisions most harmful to current state employees, e.g., the reductions in amounts paid by the state for dependent coverage of plan participants.

ACTION ALERT: The TSEA Board of Directors opposes this bill. We ask that if you are a constituent of one of the members of the House State Government Subcommittee that you express to them your concerns with this bill and how it would affect you and your family. They will also be discussing Longevity Bill the same day, so it is important keep your messages brief and polite.

SB472 / HB1103  Fiscal review committee to review contracts that resulted in layoffs.
Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bell / Rep. Timothy Hill
Requires the fiscal review committee to review any contract that resulted in a reduction in force or lay off of any state employee due to the provisions of such contract. Requires the fiscal review committee to consider the three-year cost of the contract, comparable benefits, and quality of the contractor’s performance. Also requires fiscal review committee, as part of reviewing proposed contracts, to consider whether existing state employees can perform the tasks in such proposed contracts.

Note: This bill is part of TSEA’s legislative package. For more information about our legislative package, visit the TSEA website.

SB773 / HB984 Membership of state insurance committee.
Sponsors: Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Courtney Rogers
Adds one representative and one senator as members of the state insurance committee, to be appointed by the respective speakers. Provides that those members shall serve two-year terms. Provides that the speakers shall ensure that one of the members is a republican, while the other is a democrat.

Note: This bill is part of TSEA’s legislative package. For more information about our legislative package, visit the TSEA website.

SB821 / HB888 Allows commissioner to require certain reports from wardens.
Sponsors: Sen. Paul Bailey / Rep. Craig Fitzhugh
As introduced, allows the commissioner of the department to require certain reports from wardens regarding the staffing of penal institutions by law enforcement personnel, including, but not limited to, the work schedules of staff and the assigned workday rotation of staff.

SB12 / HB242 Mandatory retirement age category for commissioned park rangers.
Sponsors: Sen. Ken Yager / Rep. Dennis Powers
As introduced, includes commissioned park rangers within the mandatory retirement age category for purposes of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system; allows them eligibility for the supplemental bridge retirement benefit afforded to other commissioned law enforcement employees.

SB338 / HB509 Ten years as state employee equivalent to GED for retention purposes.
Sponsors: Sen. Frank Niceley / Rep. Billy Spivey
As introduced, requires 10 or more years of employment as a state employee to be credited as equivalent to a GED for the purpose of retention of state employment, promotion as state employee, or return to state service.

SB722 / HB657 Expands definition of “period of armed conflict.”
Sponsors: Sen. Mark Green / Rep. Jay D. Reedy
As introduced, adds Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom to the definition of “period of armed conflict” for purposes of determining military service credit in the Tennessee consolidated retirement system.

SB813 / HB664 Probationary period for certain preferred service position transfers.
Sponsors: Sen. Joey Hensley / Rep. David B. Hawk
As introduced, exempts preferred service employees who transfer to another preferred service position from the one-year probationary period of employment if the employee previously completed a probationary period in a preferred service position.

SB890 / HB1145 Payroll deductions for dues to state employee organizations.
Sponsors: Sen. Brian K. Kelsey / Rep. Glen Casada
As introduced, increases the minimum size for forms that authorize payroll deductions for state employee membership dues to certain employee associations from three inches by five inches, to three inches by six inches.

SB953 / HB886 Group insurance plan for state employees.
Sponsors: Sen. Lee Harris / Rep. Craig Fitzhugh
As introduced, extends group insurance to state employees who have been employed by the state for at least 60 days instead of 24 months and who will work 640 hours instead of 1,450 hours within a fiscal year whether compensated on hourly, daily, monthly, or piecework basis.

SB1157 / HB588 Model policy for employers to prevent abusive conduct in workplace.
Sponsors: Sen. Mark S. Norris / Rep. Antonio Parkinson
As introduced, extends the date by which TACIR must create a model policy for employers to prevent abusive conduct in the workplace from March 1, 2015, to September 1, 2015.

SB1303 / HB1129 Issued identification card not returned after retirement.
Sponsors: Sen. Frank Niceley / Rep. Matthew Hill
As introduced, prohibits the state from assessing a cost to an employee that upon retirement keeps the employee’s employee photo identification card issued by the state.

SB1355 / HB513 State treasurer to handle administration and operation of TCRS.
Sponsors: Sen. Randy McNally / Rep. Charles M. Sargent
As introduced, authorizes the board of trustees of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system to delegate the responsibilities of operating and administering the retirement system to the state treasurer; transfers responsibility for hearing appeals of initial orders of administrative law judges from the board to the board’s executive committee.

Thursday

House Floor Calendar

SB1276 / HB1158 Certain state employee evaluations are confidential.
Sponsors: Sen. Ken Yager / Rep. Bob Ramsey
Makes confidential the job performance evaluations of employees of the state treasurer, employees of the comptroller of the treasury, employees of the secretary of state, and employees of public institutions of higher education. Clarifies that such job performance evaluations includes self-evaluations by employees and any communications concerning job performance evaluations.

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